- Left camp around 8:15am
- Picked up Jim Ward in Castle Rock
- Arrived at Lone Duck
- Went into Manitou Springs for lunch at Subway
- Back to camp and chatted with the DML
- Took Evan swimming at the campground pool
- Dinner with the DML
- Visited Seven Falls at 9:30pm
- Hang out by the campfire
This morning we got up, got our showers, had breakfast and were on the road by about 8:15am for destination of Lone Duck Campground in Manitou Springs. Lone Duck is the site of the 10th Anniversary Dakota Mailing List National Meet. We traveled through Denver and stopped in Castle Rock to pick up a DML member, Jim Ward, to give him a ride to Lone Duck for the day. Jim injured his knee and couldn’t drive – actually he’s wearing a brace that keeps his right leg perfectly straight. He couldn’t get in the front seat, so we took Evan’s car seat out, let him slide in the back seat, and got his leg up between the space between the front seats. We drove down to Lone Duck Campground in Manitou Springs and got registered.
Our camp site is right outside the “DML Headquarters”, a circle that all the tent campers in the DML are staying in. It was kind of tricky backing in to our spot, but it turned out fine. We have to share our electric hookups with our neighboring site (fellow DMLers Jason and Norah Bleazard), but there’s only one 30amp and one 20 amp, and I only have a 13 amp cord to reach, so that means no AC for us. We’re going to get a 30 amp extension cord to plug into the remaining 20 amp outlet, but Jason says the voltage is too low at the campground to run the AC anyway. No big deal, but once again another data point that you have a better idea what to expect at Illinois state parks.
Throughout the day we started meeting the members of the DML who have arrived, including Adam (the Adam Blaster), his girlfriend Jackie, Mike Maskalans, Jason and Norah Bleazard, Tom Stack, Walt and Ingrid Felix, Dave and Jan Henry. They’re all a nice bunch. After Dusty, Evan and I returned from getting lunch in Manitou Springs, I went and chatted with the group while Evan took a nap. Tom, Jason and I put up Tom’s new canopy, much to the amusement on the onlookers. After Evan woke up, we took him to the campground pool and returned to hang out with the group. We grilled some hotdogs some hot dogs for dinner.
Later in the evening, at around 9:30pm, we visited the Seven Falls, which is a large waterfall they light up with colored floodlights. It’s not far from camp – we had a caravan of Dodges (and a jeep) roaring out of the campground and into town. The whole group went (including the Henry’s, who were already there before dark). There are two tall sets of stairs that lead to observation platforms, one above the base of the falls and one that leads up to the top of the falls. We took the elevator up the first set (everyone except Mike, who took the stairs) and tried to take some pictures, etc. Evan rode on Dusty’s back. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he woke up around 8:30, allowing us to tag along. Afterwards a few of us climbed the second set of stairs to the top of the falls. I’m anxious to see if anyone got any pictures to turn out.
We left Seven Falls, got lost a couple of times, and rolled into a gas station to fill up. We had .6 gallons left, so we cut it a little close. When we got home Evan went to bed and Dusty and I hung out by the fire in DML HQ for a while.
More stuff we saw:
- Pike’s Peak (we didn’t drive up it, just saw it from Colorado Springs
- The DML crew
- Ketchup-flavored Lay’s potato chips (from Canada)
- Evan eating watermelon, green part first
- The Bleazard’s dog “Dakota” and the Henry’s bird
- Mike’s heavily lifted solid axle Gen III Dakota with 40 inch tires, which we saw on the way to the campground – there’s no mistaking it
- Seven Falls at Night
- Historic downtown Manitou Springs
- Evan trying to push Walt and Ingrid’s wheeled cooler (since it DOES have wheels and a handle, after all)
- A sea of tents and dining canopies in DML HQ
- Jason and Norah’s 24ft travel trailer, and their poor overworked Dakota Quad Cab
- Adam’s undamaged Jeep Wrangler Unlimited rental
- Walt’s Ram, after its first time with anything in the bed and first time off-road
- Tom’s Ram, after since “Christine” couldn’t make it to the meet
- The Henry’s lifted Gen II Dakota